September 27, 2007

Huckabee Shines in All-American Debate

From the Yahoo! Liveblog of the All-American GOP Presidential Debate:

First question to Huckabee: Why did you come, and what do you have to say to those who didn't show? Huckabee says, "I want to be President of the United States, not just President of the Republican Party...frankly, I'm embarrassed. I'm embarrassed for our party and I'm embarrassed for those who didn't come, because there's long been a divide in this country and it doesn't get better when we don't show up." His voice caught a little bit on that last bit — he conveys real sincerity here in his bearing in his voice. He also slips in that there may be a preconception that black voters don't vote Republican, but he certainly didn't notice when he was winning 48% of the black vote in Arkansas. "I'm honored to be here, I wish all of the candidates had come, but tonight we hopefully will make up their time, and make up their ground." Wow. Terrific opener for Huckabee.

September 26, 2007

Huckabee NRA Speech Draws More Rave Reviews

Governor Huckabee's appearance before members of the NRA last week continues to draw rave reviews. From Ken Blackwell of Townhall:

The high point of the convention went to Mike Huckabee. First, he gave a speech that wowed the crowd. Afterward, on news and public affairs shows, he was just as impressive. His unbending support of the Second Amendment on "Hardball with Chris Matthews" was textbook perfect. He supported gun rights and knocked down arguments from the left that we have to ban guns to stop crime. Mr. Huckabee pushed back against Chris Matthews' anti-gun arguments, and did it with a pleasant and easygoing style. Tapes of that interview should be distributed to teach public officials how to answer questions about Second Amendment rights.
Below is a transcript of that appearance on Hardball:
MATTHEWS: OK. Let me ask you about this other issue of guns. You come from a gun state. Pennsylvania—I come from a gun state. I mean, a lot of states are very pro-2nd Amendment.. Is that something you can trust Rudy Giuliani on?

HUCKABEE: One thing I have to admire about Rudy—and he was I think pretty courageous to go to the NRA because his past positions—he sued gun manufacturers. He was supportive of Brady. He was supportive of things like assault weapon bans, which really is a misnomer because it‘s really ridiculous to call a semi-automatic weapon an assault weapon. There are a lot of things that he did that angered the 2nd Amendment community.

It was courageous of him to go. I hope that he would change his positions on some of those issues and become more of the mainstream of America as it relates to the 2nd Amendment because, quite frankly, I don‘t know how a person can say I love the 1st Amendment, think we ought to have freedom of the press, freedom of worship, freedom of speech and freedom of assembly, but I think we ought to go ahead and just amend the 2nd Amendment and change it.

MATTHEWS: How do we deal with guns on the streets of big cities? I grew up in Philly. They got a huge murder problem up there, kids killing the other kids. These are gang killings. What do you do when people are walking around the streets with pistols in their pockets?

HUCKABEE: The problem is not that the law-abiding citizens have firearms. That‘s what the 2nd Amendment protects.


HUCKABEE: We need to be tough on people who commit a crime with a firearm. And the NRA more than anybody...

MATTHEWS: Well, wait a minute. Once they kill people...


MATTHEWS: We are tough on people that kill people. The question is, what do you do when they‘ve got guns in their pockets before they kill people? How do you stop that unless you outlaw guns?

HUCKABEE: No, you don‘t outlaw the guns. What you do, you make sure that people aren‘t defenseless when they are approached by somebody who does have one. That‘s why many of us have concealed carry permits.

MATTHEWS: So you think in a big city like Philly or Baltimore, where they have these horrendous murder rates right now, the secret is to put more arms in the streets, to have more people carrying with right to carry so that they can protect themselves when some bad kids come down the street?

HUCKABEE: If a bad kid thinks that he‘s the only one with a gun and that he can go unchallenged, he‘s more likely to have that gun, more likely to use that gun. If he thinks that there‘s a policeman on the corner or that there‘s an armed citizen on the corner, he‘s going to be less likely to try to use that firearm in some nefarious way.

MATTHEWS: This is unbelievable! You mean you think we‘re better off with this sort of mutual destruction approach to inner-city violence?

HUCKABEE: Well, you know, Chris, I...

MATTHEWS: I mean seriously. Seriously, Governor. When you go to a big city...


HUCKABEE: ... cowboy law with everybody strapped to six-shooters.

But here‘s what I‘m talking about...

MATTHEWS: No, no, no. In big cities—I got to tell you something. They had a crime situation in Philadelphia a few months ago, where afterwards, the police stopped five cars in a row, and every one of them were unrelated to the crime, and every car had a gun in it. It‘s become a big problem in the big cities. People are all armed. And it‘s not black people or white people, it‘s everybody.

HUCKABEE: So you think the answer is to take the guns away from the law-abiding people that trying to protect themselves from these...

MATTHEWS: Well, they‘re only law-abiding until they commit the crime, and then they‘re not law-abiding. The problem is the kid who‘s...

HUCKABEE: I‘m not talking about—we‘re not talking about a crime, though, Chris. We‘re talking about a law-abiding citizen like me who wants to protect himself, or like you who wants to protect himself.


HUCKABEE: So when the thug comes up with a gun in his face, he doesn‘t just sit there and have to take whatever the kid with the gun has. That‘s what we‘re talking about in being able to protect ourselves. And the main thing is let‘s build better communities, better families and better education system so maybe these kids don‘t have guns in the first place. If we had more of them with maybe a musical instrument in their hands and we had an education system that challenged them, they might not be so quick to pick up a weapon of destruction, maybe a weapon of mass instruction.

MATTHEWS: What do we do about big cities?

And you spoke to the NRA today, and I‘m sure you spoke along these lines. And I know the point of view. My brother‘s in the NRA. I know all about it. You‘re very Second Amendment.

But what do you do in big cities where somebody shows up and sells guns for 25, 30 bucks a piece, handguns, cheap guns that kids grab because they can buy them cheap, and start using them in holdups or using them in gang warfare? How do you stop that? Because that is the nature of killing in big cities now.


HUCKABEE: Well, I think—you mean, like some pawnshop or just on the street or...

MATTHEWS: No. They‘re selling them on street corners.


MATTHEWS: I mean, it‘s not hard to get a gun in a big city. How do you do it? How do you deal with it?

HUCKABEE: Well, the answer is—is once again to make sure that, when people use a gun in the commission of a crime, that we have the harshest kind of penalties for it. And, if you supply a gun to a person who has a criminal background, then the harshest penalty needs to go to you, too.


HUCKABEE: But why should you punish the law-abiding people?

MATTHEWS: So, you‘re a Second Amendment guy all the way.

HUCKABEE: No, no, I‘m just—I‘m just telling you, there‘s no reason to punish law-abiding people and to take away their Second Amendment rights because somebody‘s abusing it.


HUCKABEE: You shouldn‘t take my free speech rights away because somebody like is irresponsible with theirs.


HUCKABEE: I‘m not even wanting to take theirs away.

But you don‘t punish the good people for what the bad people are doing. And that‘s the basic premise, I think, that we argue.

MATTHEWS: Well, I‘m—I‘m with you. I think we got to go a little -

I think we got to be a little more aggressive, Governor. It‘s not my job to say so, but, if I see a kid walking down the street with anything like a bulge in his pocket, I consider that probable cause. And I wouldn‘t mind stopping and checking that out. I think we ought to be checking out guns on the streets, because it has become a horrendous problem in our big...


HUCKABEE: I just hope, if somebody holds you up on the street, though, Chris, you have something more than your good intentions to combat it with, because that‘s not going to be enough if the kid puts the gun in your face.

MATTHEWS: OK. You—you are definitely a country boy. In big cities, you cannot take the attitude that everybody carries a gun to solve their problems. It won‘t work.

Can you imagine the New York City subways with everybody armed? How would you like to be in that—in that rush hour? I mean...


HUCKABEE: No, it‘s not everybody. Chris, it doesn‘t—the beauty of it is, it doesn‘t have to be everybody. It just has to be that the criminal knows that he‘s not the only armed person on the street.

MATTHEWS: I know—I know the argument of right to carry. I know.

And it won‘t work in big cities, because there would be too many guns.

Anyway, thank you, Governor. You‘re very consistent.

HUCKABEE: Thank you.

MATTHEWS: It‘s probably exactly what you said to the NRA today.

Governor Huckabee, everybody likes you. I think you‘re OK.

HUCKABEE: Thank you, Chris.

Video: Closing Statement at Values Voter Debate

Governor Huckabee's inspiring closing statements at the Values Voter Debate last week.

Huckabee Gaining Steam, Viability

From the liberal American Prospect comes this incredible quote from Frank Page, president of the Southern Baptist Convention:

Huckabee had just won the straw poll at the Palmetto Family Council in South Carolina, and he was continuing to feel the evangelical wind at his back.

Frank Page, president of the Southern Baptist Convention and pastor of a Southern Baptist church in Taylors, SC, told me in an interview this week that Huckabee's candidacy is gaining steam, and that there "are a growing number of people who are convinced that he is a viable candidate." Huckabee, Romney, Rudy Giuliani, and John McCain have all met with Page, recognizing his influence as the leader of the country's largest Protestant denomination and the single biggest component of the conservative evangelical right.

Page, who said his comments reflected the views of conservative evangelicals generally and not just Southern Baptists, said that all the candidates, except Huckabee, "struggle with understanding where we [evangelicals] come from, but they all very much want that vote."

Page added that in contrast to 2000, when evangelicals were both "more comfortable and more confident" with Bush early in the process, the field remains unsettled.

On Monday Huckabee held a "Vertical Day" on his campaign website, a 24-hour event designed to attract more online support for his candidacy. One important guest-blogger for the candidate, who stopped short of an outright endorsement, was Newt Gingrich.
Friends, if people you know are writing off Huckabee because "he can't win," it's time to call them on it once and for all. He not only can win, but more and more people are realizing that our country needs him to.

September 24, 2007

September 22, 2007

Huckabee Round-Up: September 22nd

Apologize for the lack of posting lately. Things have been crazy for us since the Values Voter Presidential Debate on Monday — the entirety of which is now available for viewing online at the AFA website.

We encourage all of you to watch the Values Voter Debate if you have not already. I believe you will see the same thing 64 percent of the carefully-chosen delegates did, that Mike Huckabee is the top choice for the principled conservative voter. And by the way, you can see me ask a question at the 109' 24" minute mark.

Without further ado, to the Huckabee round-up. First off, James Dobson has made it clear that he will not support Fred Thompson.

"Isn't Thompson the candidate who is opposed to a Constitutional amendment to protect marriage, believes there should be 50 different definitions of marriage in the U.S., favors McCain-Feingold, won't talk at all about what he believes, and can't speak his way out of a paper bag on the campaign trail?" Dobson wrote. "He has no passion, no zeal, and no apparent 'want to.' And yet he is apparently the Great Hope that burns in the breasts of many conservative Christians? Well, not for me, my brothers. Not for me!"

Read the rest of the article here...
Dobson has already said that he will not support Guiliani or McCain. Who is left? Romney and Huckabee. Here is our bet that it will be Huckabee.

In other news, Governor Huckabee has won yet another key conservative straw poll, this one in the crucial primary state of South Carolina:
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee won the Palmetto Family Council Straw Poll Thursday night - a sign that he may be gaining a foothold amongst the conservative right of the state's Republican Party.

Huckabee got 206 of the 539 votes cast. He edged U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, who got 179, but had a very vocal support group.

Former U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson, R-Tenn., had 43 votes to finish third. He was followed by U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., with 29; U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif, with 25; former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney with 14; North Carolina businessman Daniel Gilbert had 12; U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.

Read the rest of the article...
The SBC's Baptist Press just released an incredible two-part interview with Governor Huckabee on policy and faith. Some highlights:
BAPTIST PRESS: Illegal immigration is another hot button issue. In Christian circles, the discussion has been about striking a balance between obedience to the law and compassion for the sojourner in our land. What would be your focus?

HUCKABEE: Well, I think we first have to secure the borders, and we don't do that because we dislike immigrants. We do it because we love our freedom and want to protect and preserve it. The only way you can do that is if you know who's coming into your country ..., who might come in with a truck filled with a dirty bomb. You can't do that if you have open borders.

So, it's not a matter of disliking people who aren't like us, it's a matter of doing the one thing that government is supposed to do, and that is protect our security. We have to have actual secure borders. I tell people that Americans aren't angry at immigrants for wanting to come here. We would want to come here too if we were anywhere else.

But we're angry at our government for making it harder for me to get on an airplane in my own hometown than for an illegal to cross the international border. That's what people expect us to fix. I put it always this way ... I thank God every day that I'm in a country that people are trying to break into, not one they are trying to break out of.


BAPTIST PRESS: For decades, numerous presidents have had the counsel of such men as Billy Graham to hold them accountable. If you should succeed in being elected to the office of president, who would you bring around you to continue to guide you and keep you focused spiritually?

HUCKABEE: Well, I do have several people who serve in the capacity and I most certainly would keep it as president, because you need that.

You live in a bubble anyway -- I did as a governor to some degree. It would be even more so as a president. You need people who can get inside that bubble anytime without having to go through somebody. They've got to have access to you. They've got to be able to know that they can call you up and you can call them and it's not filtered at all -- not only what's said, but when it's said. I think if you don't have that, you're in a very vulnerable and dangerous position.
Be sure to also take advantage of the Clips from the Campaign Trail that Baptist Press put together. If you scroll down you'll find extended transcriptions of some of Governor Huckabee's best performances, including his answers on taxes, evolution, morality, and education.

Governor Huckabee appeared before members of the NRA earlier this week and received rave reviews:
National Review: Basing my grades entirely on crowd reactions at today's NRA "Celebration of American Values," I'd grade McCain B+, Thompson A, Rudy B+, Huckabee A+. I will give Romney and Richardson C+s for their video presentations - they're well done for what they are, but no video can command an audience's attention the way a candidate in the flesh can.

Fred wowed 'em, the crowd loved McCain's rejoinder to the Code Pink protester, Mitt Romney's video went over well, and Rudy Giuliani earned their respect. But the guy who absolutely looked the most at home before the NRA today was probably Mike Huckabee.

Read the rest of the article here...
Straw Poll Alert!

Be sure to vote weekly in the PajamasMedia Straw Poll in the top, right-hand corner of the blog. They have recently limited the poll to the top-tier candidates: Guiliani, Thompson, McCain, Romney, and Huckabee.

Also, take the time to vote in the Family Research Council straw poll. It requires a one dollar donation, but it's more than worth it. This is an very important straw poll and Huckabee has a good chance to win.

That's all for now folks. God bless!

Vertical Day: September 24th

The mystery behind V-Day has been revealed — and boy, is it good:

Everywhere I go on the campaign trail, I meet voters with a real thirst for a healthy discussion of the issues. Ultimately, people don't care whether an issue comes from the left or the right. What they want to talk about are ideas that lift America up and make us better. It's what I call "Vertical Politics."

On Monday, our campaign has set aside 24 hours, for what we are calling a "Vertical Day". The focus of Vertical Day will be a discussion of the most important issues facing America. The plan is to promote my positions on these issues through video and personal blogs, and to have an online conversation with voters about our ideas, the solutions we see possible, our hopes for America and the challenges we face.

I'd like you to be a part of Vertical Day. I encourage you to tell your friends, family members and co-workers about it and ask them to participate. Vertical Day will start on Monday, September 24 and end on Tuesday, Sept. 25. I'm excited about this opportunity. With your help, and the power of the Internet, we will be able to involve thousands of voters all across America and truly build excitement around this discussion of issues.

To encourage you to make the time to be a part of Vertical Day, my campaign team has put together an incentive package that I hope will be fun and also create buzz and excitement. First, we've created a special Vertical Day page on our website, where you can view the 24 hours of online content we have pulled together.

We also have created a very simple online tool that will give you the ability to promote Vertical Day to your friends, family members and co-workers. We've developed a package of rewards based upon the number of people you are able to get to visit the website. As a way to cap off Vertical Day, we'll enter the names of each of our top promoters into a raffle. On Tuesday, September 25 at 3 p.m., we will draw two names who will receive special invitations to be my personal guests to the YouTube Debate on November 28 in St. Petersburg, FL.

With deep gratitude,

Mike Huckabee

P.S. Visit this weekend to learn more.
Regretably, Brett and I will be gone Monday through Wednesday on a writing retreat next week. My fellow Huckabee supporters and bloggers — please make up for our absence with your enthusiasm!

September 17, 2007

Huckabee Cruises to Values Voter Win

The results of the straw poll following the first ever Values Voter Presidential Debate in Fort Lauderdale this evening are in — and the results are irrefutable: Mike Huckabee is the only candidate for values voters in 2008.

Brett and I were present at the debate tonight. Not only did Huckubee take 63 percent of the vote, but according to pre-polling of delegates he picked up almost 33 percent of the vote following his debate performance. It was truly a masterful performance.

UPDATE: You can watch the entire debate online here.

UPDATE: Here are the official results, with numbers in parentheses referring to pre-debate polling of delegates:

Mike Huckabee: 219 (119)
Ron Paul: 44 (53)
Alan Keyes: 24 (30)
Sam Brownback: 18 (26)
Fred Thompson: 15 (52)
Duncan Hunter: 13 (8)
Tom Tancredo: 7 (8)
Rudy Guiliani: 4 (16)
John Cox: 2 (1)
John McCain: 2 (13)
Mitt Romney: 0 (14)
This was not a straw poll where candidates bus in supporters — as Huckabee told us afterwards, his campaign made no effort to get delegates there to vote for him. Instead the delegates were hand-selected by forty of the top conservative leaders in the country and made their decision.

What this means is that the real winner of the debate tonight was not Huckabee, but the Values Voters block, which now has a clear candidate to rally behind.

September 12, 2007

eBay Auction: FuzzyPuffs for President?

Another email, following the first, that arrived this evening:

In just five hours since being listed on eBay, the auctioning of the US Presidency has garnered a radio interview with NewsRadio 1110 KFAB in Omaha, Nebraska for broadcast on multiple stations tomorrow morning. It has also received its first bid of $20,000,000 from eBay user "fuzzypuffs."

eBay Auction: The United States Presidency

The presidency is for sale. Is it really?
According to Mitt Romney's standards, it appears that there's a new top-tier candidate in the running. FuzzyPuffs for President, anyone?

UPDATE: It's getting some attention. A search on Google News turned up this post from the Washington Times — as well as this quote from Huckabee, which I hadn't remembered:
[Huckabee] accused Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, of putting a price tag on the race.

"He said if I don't raise $20 million by the end of this month, that I need to get out of the race. It was basically putting a throw-down in front of me, saying it was all about the money," Huckabee said. "The United States and the presidency is not for sale. If it was, we'd just put it on eBay and auction it off."

US Presidency for Sale on eBay

We just received the following email:

On September 7th, Mitt Romney said that rivals Fred Thompson and Mike Huckabee needed to raise $20 million in the next few months to join him in the top tier.

Romney Ups Stakes for Volatile GOP Field

It looks like he was serious. The United States presidency is up for sale on eBay. Starting bid: $20 million. Seller: WillardRomney.

eBay Item: United States Presidency

Obviously a hoax, but a clever one, nonetheless. I think it deserves some noise.
We agree. Here's some noise.

David Brody: Lack of Religion in Top Tier

David Brody with is on a roll. Following his article this morning setting the record straight on Fred Thompson's refusal to debate Huckabee one-on-one, he has an insightful piece on the top-tier's discomfort about talking about religion:

So let me get this straight? Rudy Giuliani doesn’t want to talk about his religion. Mitt Romney doesn’t either. John McCain is not enagaging. Now Fred Thompson doesn’t want to go there. The only Republican actively talking about his faith is Mike Huckabee. Read below from Bloomberg News:

Republican presidential contender Fred Thompson, who is basing his campaign on an appeal to conservative voters, says he isn't a regular churchgoer and doesn't plan to speak about his religion on the stump.

The former senator from Tennessee later told reporters that his church attendance "varies."

"I attend church when I'm in Tennessee. I'm in McLean right now," he said referring to the Virginia suburb of Washington, where he lives with his wife, Jeri, and their two young children. "I don't attend regularly when I'm up there."

Thompson, 65, said he usually goes to church when visiting his mother, who attends a Church of Christ in Brentwood, Tennessee, outside of Nashville. Thompson said he isn't a member of any church in the Washington area.

Thompson's remarks may not play well with some religious voters who represent a sizable segment of the Republican Party and whose support he has been courting, portraying himself as a "common-sense conservative." President George W. Bush received 78 percent of the evangelical Christian vote in 2004 while Democrat John Kerry got 21 percent of that vote, according to the Pew Research Center.

In his first South Carolina campaign event yesterday, Thompson brought up his childhood church and said God gives him the "strength and wisdom" to tell "the truth." The comments marked the most Thompson has said to date on the campaign trail about his religion.

A woman in the crowd asked the former senator whether he would commit to talking about God nationwide, not just in a southern state such as South Carolina, where many people identify themselves as evangelical Christians.

Thompson responded by saying he has a relationship with God and doesn't plan to talk about it widely on the campaign trail.

"I know that I'm right with God and the people I love," he said in Greenville. But it's "just the way I am not to talk about some of these things."

I understand that presidential candidates aren’t running for Pastor-in-Chief. But there has been such a movement by the top tier Republican candidates to distance themselves from any talk about God and Church that quite frankly, it’s been rather startling. This is an opportunity for Baptist preacher and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee to gain ground.

Should we be monitoring a candidate’s Church attendance? Of course not. That’s not the true indicator. This is not about who’s more religious. That’s not the question. The larger issue here is which candidate will get the support from the bulk of religious conservatives? The top tier guys want their support but don’t want to engage in the religious part of the discussion. The lower tier candidates will talk about it but can’t raise much money.

That leaves Huckabee as the wild card; a candidate who may be the guy to bridge the gap? He’s comfortable talking about his faith on the stump AND serious about policy too.

Brody: Update on Huckabee vs Thompson Debate

David Brody of wrote the leading story on Fred Thompson's refusal to debate Huckabee one-on-one. In his article he wrote, "To be fair to Thompson, when he said on The Tonight Show that he backed Newt Gingrich’s debate plan, that plan was for the General Election, not the primaries."

After several comments by readers (including Brett and myself) setting the record straight, Brody proved why he has been one of our favorite political commentators in the race thus far, removing that mention from the original article and posting the following update:

Yesterday I reported that Fred Thompson’s campaign rejected Mike Huckabee’s one on one debate proposal. I then went on to say the following:

"To be fair to Thompson, when he said on The Tonight Show that he backed Newt Gingrich’s debate plan, that plan was for the General Election, not the primaries."

Well, A few Brody File readers have pointed out to me that during an interview with Sean Hannity, Fred Thompson DID call for one on one debates in the context of the GOP primary.

Here’s the transcription of that:

Sean Hannity: When you look at the other current crop of candidates, Republicans, where is the distinction between your positions and what you view as theirs?

Fred Thompson: Well, uh, to tell you the truth, uh, I haven't spent a whole lot of time, uh, going into the details of their positions. I will be doing... I... I mean publicly. I obviously know where they stand and what they've done and what they've written. And there will be a time when we will need to have a good, uh, debate, if they're interested in debates, and we'll do it one-on-one and we'll do it in a big group, and I really want to do it, and we'll get into that.

Now, earlier in that interview, Thompson said the General Election would probably be the better time to do it. Read below:

HANNITY: You don't think much of the debate process now, why?

THOMPSON: It is not designed really to illuminate people's thoughts and feelings. Thirty-, 40-second sound bites, you know, to questions that hopefully will elicit some kind of a comment about one of the other participants, something like that, to make a little story, that sort of thing.

I kind of think that Newt's idea of going back to the Lincoln-Douglas debate-type format, where you have two people sit down or stand up and, you know, take an hour or so, and maybe an hour-and-a-half and discuss maybe one particular category, one particular topic, and get in-depth and go back and forth on it.

That is the way that you find out how somebody really thinks. I know it is difficult when you have that number of people running. And I don't know the answer to it in the primary. But I think certainly in the general election, something like that would be something I would gravitate to.

You can watch the video of the interview here. It’s pretty clear that Thompson was unclear in his answer to the debate question. He was saying two different things during that interview.

Thanks to Brody File readers for pointing this out.

September 11, 2007

Fred Flip-Flops on Lincoln-Douglas Debate

If you're reading this you've probably heard the news that Fred Thompson has refused to debate Governor Huckabee after twice communicating his preference for a Lincoln-Douglas style debate. He tries to get out of it by saying that he was referring to the general election and not the primaries. It's time to set the record straight.

The fact is that Thompson did commit to one-on-one debates with his Republican opponents in the primary. Below is an exact transcript of his interview on Hannity & Colmes on September 6th:

Sean Hannity: When you look at the other current crop of candidates, Republicans, where is the distinction between your positions and what you view as theirs?

Fred Thompson: Well, uh, to tell you the truth, uh, I haven't spent a whole lot of time, uh, going into the details of their positions. I will be doing... I... I mean publicly. I obviously know where they stand and what they've done and what they've written. And there will be a time when we will need to have a good, uh, debate, if they're interested in debates, and we'll do it one-on-one and we'll do it in a big group, and I really want to do it, and we'll get into that.

View Video Here (Minute Mark 1:01)
Now Thompson is saying:
I think in the general election, when you've got two candidates that [I might be interested in] something like that, [or] something Newt Gingrich has proposed. I think [Newt's] idea is an hour and half, several different times during the course of the campaign. I think that approach, the more I think about it is a good one… In terms of some individual in a crowded primary situation, that's a different situation. We'll have an opportunity to exchange our views many times before this is over.

Read Entire Article Here
Everyone needs to post about this flip-flop. Voters need to communicate their disappointment to the press, to each other, and to Fred.

Mr. Thompson, it seems that there's plenty of time to exchange views, plenty of time to get in the race, plenty of time to get specific on the issues — we're just waiting for you to stop saying you'll do something and actually do it.

No-Show Fred, At It Again

From CBN News and the Brody File:

The Brody File has been told by Fred Thompson's campaign that he will NOT debate Mike Huckabee one on one. Huckabee had issued the debate challenge last week. Here's what Thompson's Communication Director Todd Harris just told me:

“We have the greatest respect for Gov. Huckabee and respect his desire to elevate the discourse in this campaign. But there are nine people running for the GOP nomination and an arbitrary pairing of just two of them does a disservice to the voters. We will push hard for Lincoln-Douglas style debates once we get into the General Election, when there are only two candidates running.”

To be fair to Thompson, when he said ON The Tonight Show that he backed Newt Gingrich’s debate plan, that plan was for the General Election, not the primaries. You can read about the Gingrich plan here.

You can read more about Mike Huckabee’s challenge to Thompson here.

I will say to Huckabee’s credit he is the only candidate so far that has officially endorsed Gingrich’s debate plan, though Thompson sounds like he’s ok with it too.

Everybody talks about how Thompson will be a thorn in the side of Romney. It looks to me like Huckabee will be a thorn in the side of Thompson. All of them want to be the social conservative guy.
Fred Thompson skipped the New Hampshire debate. He has refused Huckabee's invitation to debate in the format he says he prefers — one-on-one. He has also refused to participate in the Values Voter Debate in Ft. Lauderdale next Monday, figuratively thumbing his nose at the voters he claims to represent.

Mike Huckabee, on the other hand, has participated in every debate. He is the only candidate to have signed Newt Gingrich's pledge for a return to the Lincoln-Douglas debate format. He took the initiative to invite Thompson to a debate on his own terms. He is also the only leading candidate who has agreed to participate in the Values Voter Debate next week. Who is the candidate of the people?

September 10, 2007

Still Waiting for Fred

Lauren Dorgan of the Concord Monitor has written an excellent front page story on the Huckabee-Thompson debate:

The Strafford County Republican Women's club announced yesterday that it will host a one-on-one debate between Republican presidential candidates Mike Huckabee and Fred Thompson. All the women need is a time, a place - and an RSVP from Thompson.

Last week, Thompson skipped the Republican presidential debate at the University of New Hampshire, announcing his candidacy on the Tonight Show With Jay Leno. On Fox News last week, he knocked the value of debates with eight or nine candidates onstage and extolled the virtues of Lincoln-Douglas, mano-a-mano debates, saying: "That is the way that you find out how somebody really thinks."

Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor with a reputation as a smart debater, pounced. His campaign sent an open letter to Thompson welcoming the former Tennessee senator and Law & Order star to the race and suggesting the pair hold a Lincoln-Douglas debate in New Hampshire. That's when the Strafford County Republican Women got in the act, deciding to host a Huckabee-Thompson debate.

Kaitlyn Smith, the group's president, said she invited Thompson at a chili fest he attended this weekend in Stratham. He was noncommittal, she said. "He said, 'If I can be Lincoln,' or 'Can I be Lincoln?' " said Smith, who has not endorsed any candidate.

His campaign kept up that tack yesterday. "I did not know Mike Huckabee wanted to play the Stephen Douglas role," said Thompson spokesman Jeff Sadowsky. Stephen Douglas and Abraham Lincoln held their famous series of debates in 1858 when they were competing for Senate. The debates catapulted Lincoln to the national stage, but Douglas won the Senate race that year.

Despite questions about whether half the show was on board, yesterday Smith sent out a press release saying that her group would co-host a debate between Huckabee and Thompson. The release was sub-headlined: "Huckabee has accepted debate challenge."

For its part, the Huckabee campaign is delighted to have the Strafford Republican Women host or CNN broadcast the potential debate, as Wolf Blitzer suggested to Huckabee in an interview Sunday. New Hampshire Campaign Director Debra Vanderbeek says she has no doubts about her boss's ability to shine in the forum.

"No, not at all. Not one iota. . . . He has no problem sitting down, Lincoln-Douglas debates, anytime, anywhere," she said. "The only downside, I guess, is if the governor showed up for a debate and the other chair was empty."

Huckabee, a former Baptist preacher, appears at ease in debates, cracking jokes and spinning wide-ranging analogies off the cuff. "He does really well in town hall meetings; he's done pretty well in these debates," said Wayne Lesperance, an associate professor of political science at New England College.

A lifelong social conservative, Huckabee has worked to court anti-abortion voters to his side and has gained steam in some polls, though he still trails former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, Sen. John McCain and Thompson.

Thompson could cut into Huckabee's support, Lesperance said, as he, too, often touts his socially conservative credentials. "This is a battle of the conservatives," Lesperance said.

It's also a no-lose for Huckabee, Lesperance said. If Thompson signs on, Huckabee gets a bigger spotlight and could win the debate. If Thompson doesn't do it, Huckabee gets to bring it up all the time.

"Boy, this is a great example of what having a lot of time to campaign will teach you, which is there is no such thing as an off-the-cuff remark," Lesperance said. "If he says no, if he doesn't agree to do it, he's in a real pickle."
To co-sign the letter inviting Thompson to debate, click here.

Fred: First Signs of a Response?

The first signs of a response from the Thompson campaign came today in an article from Campaigns and Elections magazine:

Local Republicans Get Behind Huckabee-Thompson Debate

September 10, 2007

When members of the Strafford County Republican Women heard that former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee wanted to debate former U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson, R-Tenn., in a Lincoln-Douglas style event in New Hampshire, the group felt it was an offer they couldn't pass up.


The Strafford County Republican Women group is part of the statewide New Hampshire Federation of Republican Women... In the past few days, the women have found themselves in the middle of a national political story that continues to involve more and more organizations by the day. According to the Huckabee campaign, CNN's Wolf Blitzer told the former governor in a recent interview that CNN would be happy to sponsor a Thompson-Huckabee debate as well.


On Saturday, members of both groups were at the Seacoast Federation of Republican Women's annual Chili Fest fundraiser, where Thompson held his first New Hampshire event since announcing his candidacy. As the crowd waited for Thompson's arrival in the rain, SCRW members handed out press releases announcing the debate and that Huckabee was already on board. Smith said they have not heard officially from the campaign, but she did talk to Thompson after the debate.

"I asked him to join us, and he said, ‘Only if I can be Lincoln,'" she said.

Debra Vanderbeek, the New Hampshire campaign manager for Huckabee, said that, to her knowledge, the Thompson campaign has not formally replied to the former governor's letter.

"This is the first I've heard about them being involved at all," said Jeff Sadosky, a spokesperson for the Thompson campaign. Now that the former senator and television star has officially announced his candidacy, he will start making decisions about which events, debates and forums he will attend, said Sadosky.

"I don't know if Mike Huckabee wants to be playing the roll of Stephen Douglas on this one," Sadosky added.

Smith said if Thompson does say yes to the debate, it would likely be held at the University of New Hampshire.
Interestingly enough, Stephen Douglas was the one who won the election between him and Lincoln, but I guess you can't expect the Thompson campaign to know that. Humor aside, it's the American people who really win when two candidates come together to discuss and debate the key issues of the day.

It's encouraging to hear hints that Fred understands this and is not brushing off Huckabee's invitation. But as with his campaign thus far, let's hope he can get beyond hints and can lead, as a president should, by example. We're waiting for you, Fred.

To co-sign the letter inviting Thompson to debate, click here.

Fred Needs to Debate Mike

A press release issued today by the Huckabee campaign:

September 10, 2007

LITTLE ROCK, AR – Over the last 72 hours, nearly 1,500 Americans have joined former Governor and Presidential Candidate Mike Huckabee in his call to former U.S. Senator Fred Thompson to participate in a series of Lincoln Douglas-styled debates.

“On Friday, I sent a letter to Senator Thompson outlining our shared desire to participate in a series of Lincoln Douglas-styled debates. Senator Thompson had initially suggested in a Fox News interview that this would be a better format for debate. In that letter, I officially accepted his offer and suggested that we start this series of debates in New Hampshire,” said Huckabee.

Huckabee’s presidential campaign posted his invitation to Thompson on his web-site ( with an opportunity for average citizens to co-sign his letter. Since Friday, nearly 1,500 people have co-signed the letter so far; traffic to the Governor’s website is at a record-high; and nearly three dozen new “bloggers for Huckabee” have joined his team.

Huckabee said he has received no official response from Sen. Thompson to date, but welcomes his reply.

“Yesterday while on CNN, Wolf Blitzer offered for CNN to broadcast the debate. The only thing we’re waiting on is for Senator Thompson to show up and debate. Senator Thompson can pick the date, he can pick time, and he can pick the place,” said Huckabee.

“I urge him to accept the invitation of the American people and show that he’s capable of leading by example – and isn’t afraid of expressing his views and his vision for America in a comprehensive one-on-one Lincoln Douglas-styled debate,” he said.

Last month, Huckabee signed former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s pledge to participate in a series of lengthy debates with the American people – a concept that was embraced by Thompson on his interview with Jay Leno last week. “I think this is a great idea, and one that the American people would benefit from,” said Huckabee. “I’m glad that Senator Thompson agrees.”

The text of Gov. Huckabee’s letter, along with the names and comments of nearly 1,500 co-signers, can be found on his website ( by clicking here.

“I’m pleased that citizens from all across America have enthusiastically endorsed this idea with their signature and have called on Senator Thompson to debate me at the location of his choice – preferably in a key state such as New Hampshire,” said Huckabee.

September 7, 2007

The Letter Huckabee Sent to Fred

UPDATE: To add your name to the letter asking Fred to agree to the debate, head to the Huckabee blog by clicking here.

Just out. Below is the letter Huckabee sent to Thompson, accepting his invitation and challenging him to a Lincoln-Douglas style debate.

September 7, 2007

The Honorable Fred Thompson
1130 Eighth Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203

Dear Senator Thompson,

Welcome to the 2008 Presidential race. I look forward to seeing you on the trail in the upcoming days, weeks, and months ahead.

I share your view of the debates and agree that Newt’s “Nine Nineties in Nine” concept is a far better way to make sure America’s next President has the character and capacity to lead our nation forward, and that’s why I have already signed that pledge. I agree that what is needed is a real discussion by the candidates about their vision for the future of our country.

The debates so far have not offered an in-depth discussion on critical issues such as health care, education, energy independence, in addition to terrorism and national security.

I am aware of your comments on Fox News that you would like to participate in a series of Lincoln Douglas-styled debates. I would like to officially accept your offer and look forward to working with your staff to schedule this. I would suggest we start this series in New Hampshire.

At the end of these debates, the American people will know each candidate far greater and would be able to choose which candidate possesses the depth of knowledge on the issues and has the character and capacity to lead our great nation. More importantly, the American people would be able to rely on a true conversation on the issues, instead of just 30-second ads and soundbites to decide which candidate has the right vision for America’s future.

Senator, let’s lead by example and get the ball rolling. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this idea and debating you in front of the American people.


Mike Huckabee
Former Governor of Arkansas (1996-2007)

Huckabee to Fred: "Let's Debate"

We broke the story before the campaign posted the press release, but here it is (see below). Spread the word. Let's ratchet up the pressure on the media and Fred in order to make this happen.

Mike Huckabee to Fred Thompson: "Let's Debate"
September 07, 2007

Manchester, NH – Former AR Governor and Republican Presidential Candidate Mike Huckabee challenged former U.S. Senator Fred Thompson to a comprehensive, one-on-one, Lincoln-Douglas styled debate, beginning in New Hampshire .

"I am aware of your comments on Fox News that you would like to participate in a series of Lincoln-Douglas styled debates. I would like to officially accept your offer," wrote Huckabee in a September 7, 2007 letter to Senator Thompson.

Huckabee said what is needed is a "real discussion by the candidates about their vision for the future of our country." He said he contacted Thompson following the former Senator's appearance last night on Fox News Channel's Hannity and Colmes program. During that interview, Thompson expressed his preference of a series of Lincoln-Douglas styled debates in which two candidates would debate a single issue for an hour or an hour and a half.

"I share your view of the debates and agree that Newt's 'Nine Nineties in Nine' concept is a far better way to make sure America's next President has the character and capacity to lead our nation forward, that's why I have already signed that pledge. I agree that what is needed is a real discussion by the candidates about their vision for the future of our country," wrote Huckabee.

Huckabee said an in-depth format on topics such as health care, education, energy independence, terrorism and national security would benefit the American public. "At the end of these debates, the American people will know each candidate far greater and would able to choose which candidate possesses the depth of knowledge on the issues and has the character and capacity to lead or great nation. More importantly, the American people would be able to rely on a true conversation on the issues, instead of just 30-second ads and sound bytes to decide which candidate has the right vision for America's future," wrote Huckabee.

"Senator, let's lead by example and get the ball rolling," he wrote.

Huckabee Accepts the Challenge, Will Fred?

This afternoon, from the Boston Globe:

Huckabee accepts Thompson's offer to debate

On a Fox News appearance Fred Thompson said he wanted have a classic Lincoln-Douglas debate on issues as opposed to the multiple candidate debates that have been taking place.

Today former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee wrote Thompson a letter to say it was a great idea and that he wants to challenge him to a debate in that format in New Hampshire.
Huckabee is the only candidate to have accepted Newt Gingrich's challenge for Lincoln-Douglas debate come general election.

On the Jay Leno Show the night of the New Hampshire debate and in his interview on Hannity & Colmes yesterday, Thompson expressed his aversion to participating in the traditional candidate debates, saying that he would like to return to the one-on-one Lincoln-Douglas style.

This is Fred's chance to finally back up his words with action.

Newt Gingrich: Huckabee Statesmanship

Appearing on the Fox News show "On the Record" with Greta Van Susteren, Speaker Newt Gingrich gave his thoughts on the debate, including these very kind words for Governor Huckabee:

Newt Gingrich: I watched the debate, which I have not done up until now, and I actually thought it was fairly lively in places. I thought there were some interesting exchanges... I actually thought there was a terrific exchange between Ron Paul and Governor Huckabee and that Governor Huckabee really communicated a sense of statesmanship at that point.
This is not the first time Gingrich has had very good things to say about Huckabee, and I don't think it will be the last.

September 6, 2007

Fred Thompson: Set Apart?

The purpose of this blog is to support Mike Huckabee, not attack his opponents. However, in response to (more than) a few comments about Fred Thompson as the eloquent savior of the dissatisfied conservative voter, I present the word-for-word, unedited transcript of Thompson's appearance on Hannity and Colmes this morning:

Sean Hannity: When you look at the other current crop of candidates, Republicans, where is the distinction between your positions and what you view as theirs?

Fred Thompson: Well, uh, to tell you the truth, uh, I haven't spent a whole lot of time, uh, going into the details of their positions. I will be doing...

[Thompson catches himself and quickly changes direction]

I... I mean publicly. I obviously know where they stand and what they've done and what they've written. And there will be a time when we will need to have a good, uh, debate, if they're interested in debates, and we'll do it one-on-one and we'll do it in a big group, and I really want to do it, and we'll get into that. Right now, uh, I've got a lot of work to do about myself.
The truth is that Thompson isn't currently able to distinguish himself from the current crop of candidates. Mike Huckabee has time and time again, bringing an optimistic, results-oriented conservative philosophy.

Go to Mike Huckabee's website and you will find fresh commonsense ideas to the problems America faces. Go to Fred Thompson's website and you will be hard-pressed to find a position on almost anything.

I'm not saying Thompson is all fluff and superficial, but after waiting so long to get into the race, for him to be so unfamiliar with his opponent's positions (and especially his own) is not just puzzling, it's downright worrisome. No wonder he skipped the debate.

[UPDATE: We have good friends who support Thompson. We're really not just trying to spin this in a negative light on him. To watch the interview for yourself, click here (question at minute mark 1:01).]

Live Voter Response: Huckabee vs Paul

Post-Debate: Huckabee on Hannity & Colmes

September 5, 2007

Reaction: New Hampshire GOP Debate

Mid-way through the debate, Huckabee stole the night with this inspired exchange with Ron Paul. Check it out in the video below, along with preliminary media reaction. This is exactly what Huckabee needed.

Marc Ambinder, The Atlantic:
My gut instinct: Mike Huckabee and Rudy Giuliani won. John McCain did very well, too.

Debates are about moments, and this debate belonged to an impassioned exchange between Ron Paul and Huckabee about the Iraq War. Fox News smartly let the two men have their say. Refreshing: an actual substantive debate about core principles. What do we owe to the Iraqi people? Ron Paul says nothing -- "we" as in Americans didn't make the mistake, the neocon cabal did. Mike Huckabee believes that the war was a mistake. But -- America's honor is at stake. Honor -- a word that Huckabee associated with John McCain. A word that resonates with the Republican electorate. "We have to be one nation. That means, if we make a mistake, we make it as a single country. Even if we lose elections, we should not lose our honor." Huckabee said the country owes to the Iraqi people our best effort to prevent genocide and stabilize the country. "We have to continue the surge. What we did in Iraq is we essentially broke it. It's our responsibility to try and fix it." Huckabee earned the biggest applause of the night. It may have been -- dare we say -- his break-out moment in New Hampshire, where support for the war isn't all that strong. (If this exchange had occurred in South Carolina, it definitely would have been a vote-earning exchange.) Huckabee was also asked tough questions about his immigration stance; he should wear them as a badge of honor. It means that his rise is being taken seriously by the press and by the Republican electorate.
Chris Cillizza, Washington Post:
Picking a fight with Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) is a questionable strategy but it just paid off for Huckabee.

After Paul -- yet again -- advocated the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq, Huckabee managed to both criticize the war and praise the surge.

"We have to continue the surge," said Huckabee. "What we did in Iraq is we essentially broke it. It's our responsibility to try and fix it."

Paul challenged Huckabee on the idea that America "broke" it, arguing that a handful of advisers to President Bush bore responsibility for the war.

Huckabee wouldn't let it go. "If we make a mistake, we make it as one country," said Huckabee to huge roars of applause. "Even if we lose elections we should not lose our honor and that is more important than the Republican party."

A very nice moment for Huckabee.
David Brody, Christian Broadcasting Network:
Now, as for Mike Huckabee, can someone explain to me why he’s NOT in the top tier? Fundraising is a problem, yes but when it comes to debate performances, you can make the case that he’s the best candidate on stage. His line about Fred Thompson where he said he had been scheduled to be on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno "but I gave up my slot to somebody else because I'd rather be here in New Hampshire with these fine people” was classic. But beyond that, he was very smart to compliment John McCain’s war service and honor. It positions Huckabee close to McCain’s principles and for Huckabee to ride the coattails of McCain on the issue of military honor and integrity is a good thing. Since Huckabee has a lack of foreign policy experience, it’s smart that he make the play that he did tonight. He also laid out his fair tax proposal in a very sensible way. Huckabee’s best moment may have come when he confronted Ron Paul over the Iraq war. Paul said the war is destroying the Republican Party but Huckabee said, ““We should not lose our honor and that’s more important than the Republican Party.” Then this line which may be the line of the debate: "Congressman, we are one nation. We can’t be divided. We make a mistake, we make it as a single country, the United States of America, no not the divided states of America.

Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney did well tonight. They didn’t hurt themselves but the night seemed to belong to McCain and Huckabee. Fred Thompson may be about to join the top tier but John McCain and Mike Huckabee should be there too.
Chuck Todd, NBC News:
There were three clear winners tonight: Giuliani, Huckabee and Thompson. And there was one big loser tonight: Romney.

Huckabee doing well at a debate is about as common as the sun rising in the east. In particular, the exchange with Ron Paul where Huckabee got to defend McCain, defend the surge and also call Iraq a mistake was, dare I say, a mix of Reagan and Clinton. He was just smooth and showed himself as someone who is a good conservative Republican who could be a very electable Republican nominee.
Steve Kornacki, New York Observer:
Understandably, the chatter this week has been about which candidates will be most hurt by Fred Thompson’s just-announced candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination.

But on the eve of his declaration on Sept. 6, there was more evidence that the biggest X-factor in the G.O.P. race is not from Tennessee. The eight non-Thompson candidates debated in New Hampshire – and this time there actually were verbal confrontations that justified the use of the term “debate” – and it provided still more signs that the man to watch may actually be Mike Huckabee.

Time and again, Mr. Huckabee asserted himself as the strongest orator of the bunch, combining the superficial – but ever vital – charm of Mitt Romney with a remarkable ability, honed during his years in the pulpit, to address bloodless policy topics in a language that is accessible and appealing to the common man.

And he showed political savvy on Wednesday night as well.

Wednesday night, Mr. Huckabee challenged Mr. Paul’s assertion that the American people should not feel obligated to keep their armed forces in Iraq, since the decision to invade was made only by a handful of neoconservatives.

Saying that the United States makes mistakes “as a single nation,” he reiterated his belief that the country has a moral obligation to leave Iraq with some semblance of stability. Mr. Paul used his reply to note that the war is destroying the G.O.P.’s electoral chances. Mr. Huckabee, to the audience’s delight, declared that, “Even if we lose elections, we should not lose our honor. And that is more important to the Republican Party.”

It’s no revelation that Mr. Huckabee is a talented public performer. But in Wednesday’s debate, his screen time seemed to rival that of the major candidates for the first time. It’s a sign that he’s leaving the also-rans in the dust – and may end up in the top tier before this is over.
David Terr, USA Election Polls:
The one criticism that I have had against Mike Huckabee was that he needed to be more vocal about his stance on the war. All we've heard out of his mouth was about the fair tax, how we need health prevention, etc.. That is the downfall of Governors in that they do not have foreign policy experience. Well, all that was thrown out the window at the debate last night.

You have to admit Mike Huckabee showcased skills in debating with Ron Paul. He had a couple of great sound bites like we are not the "Divided States of America". He is going to get a lot of coverage in the upcoming couple of days for this exchange. It makes for great television and for most conservatives (who are for the war) Mike Huckabee stood out the most.

Anyways, if our contention is right, Mike Huckabee should find himself heading towards 20% just as we predicted.
John Dickerson, Slate Magazine:
In the first Fox debate, it was Rudy Giuliani who used Ron Paul as his foil. This time Mike Huckabee engaged in a back-and-forth with Paul over finishing the job in Iraq. It was a rare flare of substance and useful conflict on the question of what America owes the Iraqis. Paul—whom the stainless steel Romney might want to watch for pointers on how to display passion—made the case for withdrawal, arguing that the country should not continue to suffer for the mistakes of a neoconservative cabal in the Bush administration that launched the war. Huckabee, who conceded the mistakes in Iraq, made the case for continuing the fight by appealing to the country's sense of honor. "What we did in Iraq is we essentially broke it," he said, invoking Colin Powell's Pottery Barn rule. "It's our responsibility to try and fix it." Huckabee has been moving up in the polls. He's appealing and amusing and articulates the pro-life position better than perhaps any presidential candidate ever has. This exchange offered a chance for him to show GOP primary voters range—he could speak passionately about the central foreign-policy issue of the day. Since debates live on in the sound bites replayed afterward, the exchange with Paul is one Huckabee should probably post in the middle of his home page. (Paul probably should, too.)
Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal:
Mike Huckabee, and for this I "Heart" Huckabee, shot back [at Paul] that history will judge whether we were right to go in, but for now, "we're there." He echoed Colin Powell: We broke it, now we own it. "Congressman, we are one nation. We can't be divided. . . . If we make a mistake, we make it as a single country, the United States of America, not the divided states of America." David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting Network says he doesn't know why Mr. Huckabee isn't in the top tier. I wonder too. Maybe he is and we don't know it.

Transcript: Huckabee vs Paul Exchange

From the transcript of the New Hampshire GOP Debate:

MR. WALLACE: Governor Huckabee, the latest National Intelligence Estimate, which is out recently, says that even if we continue the troop surge -- and we’re going to put it up on the screen -- Iraq’s security will continue to improve modestly during the next six to 12 months, but levels of insurgent and sectarian violence will remain high, and the Iraqi government will continue to struggle to achieve national-level political reconciliation and improved governance.

Governor, if that’s the best we can hope for, should we continue the surge?

MR. HUCKABEE: We have to continue the surge. And let me explain why, Chris. When I was a little kid, if I went into a store with my mother, she had a simple rule for me. If I picked something off the shelf of the store and I broke it, I bought it.

I learned don’t pick something off the shelf I can’t afford to buy.

Well, what we did in Iraq, we essentially broke it. It’s our responsibility to do the best we can to try to fix it before we just turn away because something is at stake. Senator McCain made a great point, and let me make this clear. If there’s anybody on this stage that understands the word honor, I’ve got to say Senator McCain understands that word -- (applause, cheers) -- because he has given his country a sacrifice the rest of us don’t even comprehend. (Continued applause.)

And on this issue, when he says we can’t leave until we’ve left with honor, I 100 percent agree with him because, Congressman, whether or not we should have gone to Iraq is a discussion that historians can have, but we’re there. We bought it because we broke it. We’ve got a responsibility to the honor of this country and to the honor of every man and woman who has served in Iraq and ever served in our military to not leave them with anything less than the honor that they deserve. (Cheers, applause.)

MR. HUME: Go ahead. You wanted to respond? He just addressed you; you go ahead and respond. (Continued applause.)

REP. PAUL: The American people didn’t go in. A few people advising this administration, a small number of people called the neoconservative hijacked our foreign policy. They’re responsible, not the American people. They’re not responsible. We shouldn’t punish them. (Cheers, applause.)

MR. HUCKABEE: Congressman, we are one nation. We can’t be divided. We have to be one nation under God. That means if we make a mistake, we make it as a single country, the United States of America, not the divided states of America. (Cheers.)

REP. PAUL: No. When we make a mistake -- (interrupted by applause) -- when we make a mistake, it is the obligation of the people through their representatives to correct the mistake, not to continue the mistake! (Cheers, applause.)

MR. HUCKABEE: And that’s what we do on the floor of the --

REP. PAUL: No! We’ve dug a hole for ourselves and we dug a hole for our party!

We’re losing elections and we’re going down next year if we don’t change it, and it has all to do with foreign policy, and we have to wake up to this fact.

MR. HUCKABEE: Even if we lose elections, we should not lose our honor, and that is more important than the Republican Party.
Watch the exchange and read media reaction here.

September 2, 2007

Chris Wallace: Huckabee Is Top-Tier

From a hodge-podge article this morning in the Concord Monitor comes this interesting bit of analysis from Chris Wallace:

In advance of the Republican debate on Wednesday, we checked with one of the questioners - Fox News Sunday's Chris Wallace - about the state of the races.

In Wallace's eyes, the top tier of the GOP has room for five. Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani and the soon-to-announce Fred Thompson lead. John McCain is "back in fourth place right now." Mike Huckabee, he said, "is in fifth place but I think has become a front-tier candidate."

On the Democratic said, Wallace said, "Clinton is the clear frontrunner." Obama and Edwards fill out the top tier, he said.